Truth test: Romney's controversial comments

White House says comments are divisive

HOUSTON - After a fundraising stop in Texas today, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continues to defend controversial comments about Americans who don't pay income taxes.

The comments were made during a $50,000 a plate fundraiser in Florida and were secretly recorded and released.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney is heard saying on the tape.

He described that group as people who see themselves as victims and "who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to healthcare, to food to housing, you name it."

The former Massachusetts governor is standing by his statement, but said his delivery was "inelegant."

Mike Cronin, a reporter with Texas Watchdog, a government accountability group, said Romney's comments are supported by facts.

"The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center did a study in 2011 that shows that about half of American households don't pay taxes because of different exemptions for low income status," said Cronin.

Only half of the 46 percent who don't pay income taxes obtain credits due to low income. The other half, including some high-income families, don't pay income tax due to various provisions in the tax code, Cronin said.

More than 16 million senior citizens, college students and middle class families do not pay income taxes. Critics said Romney's comments are misleading and disrespectful to many hard-working Americans.

A spokesman for President Obama said that Romney's comments are divisive and create class warfare.

"The president certainly doesn't think that men and women on social security are irresponsible or victims," said Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary.


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